An invaluable service
The landscape of the Lettings industry within the UK is continually changing with legislation either being revised or created relentlessly and it is vital for landlords to ensure that their activities as well as their properties are compliant and conform to all of the relevant rules and guidelines applicable. This is where a good letting agent can prove invaluable and at Fisks we strive to provide a residential lettings service that protects our clients whilst ensuring the let is performing to its best possible standard whether that be from a financial perspective or otherwise.
Delve a little deeper
Before you let a property it is important to consider the following:
- A landlord has statutory obligations under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to repair and maintain in good working order the installations, appliances and equipment for gas, water, electricity, drainage and for heating water and space within the property.
- All owners of a property, as shown at Land Registry, must give permission to let the property.
- If a property is mortgaged, the landlord must obtain the lender’s permission to let the property.
- The landlord is responsible for insuring the buildings and the contents, other than the contents introduced by the tenant (for which the tenant is responsible for arranging insurance). The landlord should advise the insurance company that the property will be let to ensure continuity of cover and inform us of any specific conditions their insurer may impose, e.g. maximum period during which the property may be left unoccupied whilst remaining covered by insurance.
- The landlord should also ensure that they have public liability cover.
- Tenants pay for exclusive possession of a property during a tenancy and are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’, that is to live there without interference from the landlord or anyone else. The landlord cannot enter the property without the tenant’s permission or harass the tenant in any way.
- Landlords are required to keep records and submit a self-assessment tax return to HMRC, providing details of the rental income and any deductible expenses, including mortgage interest, letting agency fees and accountancy fees.
- Any landlord residing abroad must apply to the Inland Revenue for authorisation to receive gross rental income (without tax deducted). This permits us to pay all rent (after deduction of fees plus VAT and maintenance costs) to the landlord. In the absence of authorisation, we are legally obliged to withhold income tax on all rent at the standard rate. Where a landlord is classed as a UK resident for tax purposes, it is not necessary for us to retain any income tax.
Once you are satisfied that your property is ready to rent Fisks will undertake to find a suitable tenant;
Presentation is extremely important as it maximises the desirability and value of the rental property. We take great care and attention over every aspect of creating the property’s marketing campaign including the production of a floorplan which many of our competitors do not. Informative and well produced photography helps to present your property in the best light and concise factual details allows prospective tenants to quickly become familiar with each of the main features of the property.
In addition, we have developed virtual tour technology and we can create an online ‘walk through’ experience and there is no additional fee payable for this service. A sample of our tours can be found by clicking here.
Our specialist staff have extensive experience advising Landlords in Wimborne and surrounding villages. We can provide specialist and dedicated advice not only on tenancy issues but also sound guidance on internal and external presentation together with the careful management and administration of marketing campaign in its entirety ensuring that we propose the most suitable tenants for the property.
We will ensure that you get access to the most up-to-date marketing and exposure – from presence in key local publications to listings on our user-friendly website and major national property portals such as rightmove.co.uk and onthemarket.com.
Once we have found a prospective tenant we will obtain a holding deposit from them before commencing their referencing and then, subject to satisfactory replies, propose them to you for tenancy and agree a suitable start date for the tenancy.
Prior to the start date of the tenancy we will liaise with the tenants and arrange for them to sign the tenancy agreement and, with your authority, we can sign on your behalf. At this stage Fisks will ensure that the rent in advance as well as the balance of the security deposit have been paid.
A detailed inventory/schedule of condition should be completed before the check-in and we will arrange with the tenant a mutually convenient time on the first day of the tenancy to meet them at the property to complete the check-in.
The check-in appointment gives the tenant the opportunity to critique the inventory and schedule of condition as well as ask any questions or queries of us on behalf of our client. It also allows us to understand specific safety checks and take physical meter readings.
Council Tax is the responsibility of the tenant during the tenancy. We will notify the local authority of each change. When a property is unoccupied, the landlord is responsible for Council Tax.
Fisks will advise the various utility companies of a change of tenancy and provide meter readings. Telephone companies will only deal with the bill payer using the service. All arrangements for service provision must therefore be made by the landlord or the tenant.
Fisks recommend that all new landlords and outgoing tenants arrange for their mail re-direction.
Once the tenancy has been executed regular visits are essential to the good management of a property and are conducted to ensure the property is being kept to an acceptable standard. Typically we will inspect the property on a quarterly basis and should the condition of the property be brought in to dispute at the conclusion of the tenancy these inspections can be vital if the landlord needs to make a claim against the tenants deposit.
Tenants are obliged to inform us of any problems during the tenancy but we also look for signs of problems during property visits.
Should there be any issues or items that require maintenance we advise the landlord of the issue and arrange for its remedy as required.
The costs of day-to-day repairs and maintenance are normally deducted from rent. We ask for authority from the landlord before incurring any expense and will also identify who is responsible for the costs that have been accrued.
In the event of an emergency we are often obliged to act on the landlord’s behalf without prior consultation as an agent of necessity. Under these circumstances we reserve the right to take, at the landlord’s expense, whatever reasonable steps we feel are necessary to safeguard the tenants and protect the landlord’s interests.
Should the tenant wish to terminate their tenancy we will ensure that the notice has been served correctly, advising the landlord accordingly and remarket the property should the landlord instruct us to do so.
If the tenant has not served the correct notice we will refer to the landlord to seek their instruction as they may be happy to accept the notice and should the tenant wish to vacate the property prior to the conclusion of their tenancy we will advise the landlord of the options available to them.
At the conclusion of the tenancy we conduct a thorough inspection and update the inventory/schedule of condition. We deal with any issues arising and, if necessary, make a claim against the tenant’s deposit.
Rent is paid by standing order on the anniversary date of the tenancy. However problems can arise due to a tenant’s changed financial circumstances, forgetfulness or a mistake by the bank. We monitor late payments and arrears carefully, informing the landlord as soon as a problem becomes apparent and try to obtain payment as soon as possible. Usually we secure payment promptly or during the course of the month and pay the landlord.